Last week was my first losing week in awhile, and that's mostly due to the NFC East where I went 0-3. I thought the Jaguars in London and the Panthers could keep games close while they got blown out and I had hoped the Giants would show some competency in Seattle (which they did for 3 quarters) and keep it close but they ended up getting blown out. I also for the first time tried to predict the over/under and realized why I don't do that as I went 6-7. I'll give the Over/Under another go this week, but like I said last week I've predicted games for awhile but never have with the over/under so take my advice on that with a grain of salt.
Buffalo Bills (+5) at Miami Dolphins Over/U 42
The Bills have actually played the Dolphins the last few years even when they weren't playing that well. They have beat the Dolphins 3 times in a row and four of the last 5 times and now they are getting 5 points, and I might be over-stating things here, but other than the Patriots (who Tom Brady is something like a ridiculous 19-2 or something against them) the Bills defense is good enough to reasonable expect them to keep games close and I expect the same here. The Bills outplayed the Chiefs on Sunday and only lost because of two untimely fumbles (Bryce Brown fumbled the ball out the back of the end zone and then Leodis McKelvin fumbled a punt). The Dolphins are a solid team as well, but these are both very solid teams and 5 points is too many. As for the over/under everything says this should be a low scoring affair between two tough defenses and two average offenses, but gut feeling I'll take the over.
Pick: Dolphins win, Bills cover
Houston Texans (+3) at Cleveland Browns O/Under 42
The Brows lone blemish this year was their bad loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Texans are a solid team who has lackluster quarterback play this year which they are hoping to change by inserting Ryan Mallett in the starting lineup. I think the Browns are a better team and they are getting the game at home. You'd hope the Brows could come up with something exotic on defense to cause a couple of miscues on the young Mallett who only has 4 career passes.
Minnesota Vikings (+3) at Chicago Bears O/Under 47
The Bears just got embarrassed on National television and get to come back this week against their rivals the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings have played pretty well this year with a rookie quarterback with a record of 4-5 which is actually better than the Bears 3-6 record though I think the Bears are more talented, they were also called out by coach and Chicago royalty Mike Ditka this week--if there is any pride in this team they should play inspired football. I like them to squeak this game out.
Pick Chicago Bears
Philadelphia Eagles (+5) at Green Bay Packers Over/U 56
Last week I picked the Panthers to cover because Cam Newton > Mark Sanchez, but that didn't work out as Sanchez played pretty well, but also the Panthers couldn't get out of their own way. But I'm going to go back to the well on this one Aaron Rodgers > Mark Sanchez. Green Bay is also taking care of the ball this year +10 turnover ratio and their defense isn't any good against the run, but they are doing a good job of limiting points. Many things favor the Packers here and I'm still not convinced the Eagles are as good as their record says they are.
Seattle Seahawks (+1.5) at Kansas City Chiefs O/Under 42.5
I thought the Giants could keep the game close between the Seahawks because the Seahawks had been pretty banged up and for 3 quarters they kept it close but Lynch eventually just wore it down. The Seahawks are also starting to get healthier. The Chiefs on the other hand struggled against Buffalo and were bailed out by two untimely Bills fumbles. The Bills were able to run the ball effectively on the Chiefs and I expect similar the Seahawks to be able to do so as well as the Chiefs are giving up 4.7 yards per game. The Seahawks don't have great receiving options, but the Chiefs don't either as they have yet to see a receiver catch a touchdown pass this year. The Chiefs are winners of four straight, but I think that ends this week.
Pick: Seahawks with the mild upset
Atlanta Falcons (+2) at Carolina Panthers O/Under 46.5
The Panthers were 12-4 last year in large part because of a tough physical defense that was among the league's best. This year the Panthers defense is just terrible. They are giving up 28.1 points per game, 4.6 yards per rush, and they don't really have anyone who can rush the passer. On top of that Star Lotulelei left the last game with an ankle injury and Cam Newton has finally came out and said he has been playing hurt. The Falcons don't do a ton right, but they do have dangerous offensive weapons and this is a very vulnerable defense.
Cincinnati Bengals (+7) at New Orleans Saints Over/U 50.5
The Saints are difficult to beat at home, but 7 points is a lot of points to give up to what is a good, but flawed Bengals team even though they will be without two of their best players in Giovani Bernard and Vontaze Burfict.
Pick: Bengals cover, Saints win
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+7) at Washington Redskins O/U 45
The Redskins are better than the Buccaneers, but should not be favored over 7 points over any team. The Redskins are a middling team based on the metrics for both offense and defense.
Pick: Redskins win, Buccaneers cover
Denver Broncos (-9.5) at St. Louis Rams Over/U 51
The Rams pass rush has come alive over the last few games with 13 of their 17 sacks on the season over the last three weeks, but the Broncos don't give up too many sacks. The Rams are starting to run the ball better with Tre Mason who looked all right the last two weeks despite going against the 49ers and Cardinals run defenses, but the Broncos are the #1 ranked run defense in the league. With other teams I might bank on them over-looking an opponent or playing down to the competition, but Peyton Manning wins 12 games a year virtually every year because of laser-like focus and consistent ability. I expect them to win big vs the Rams who just don't match up well with the Broncos.
Pick: Broncos win big
San Francisco 49ers (-4) at New York Giants Over/Under 43.5
The Giants are soft along the offensive and defensive lines, which doesn't bode well for facing the 49ers. The Giants haven't played ANY game this year (win or loss) where the margin of victory was less than 10 points, which is really fascinating. Unfortunately, the Giants haven't given us any reason to believe they can overcome that this weekend.
Pick: 49ers win big
Oakland Raiders (+10) at San Diego O/Under 44.5
San Diego has been in a bit of a tail spin lately losing their last three games before the bye. The game before that the Chargers beat the Raiders, but only by 3 in Oakland. The Raiders are not a good team, but they have a promising rookie class, perhaps the best rookie class in the league and I think they can make enough plays to keep this one close, though the Chargers coming off a bye and desperate for a win does give me some pause.
Pick: Raiders cover, Chargers win
Detroit Lions (+2) at Arizona Cardinals Over/U 41.5
The Cardinals lost Carson Palmer for the season last week, but they have played without Palmer a few times this year and have fared well. This is one of the better games of the week, both teams have good defenses and both teams have some dynamic playmakers, but I like the Lions play-makers a bit more and I think the Lions front seven could cause a lot of problems for the Cardinals.
Pick: Lions win outright
New England Patriots (+3) at Indianapolis Colts Over/U 57.5
I'll take Tom Brady and the points in what should be a very high scoring game.
Pick: Patriots win outright
Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) at Tennessee Titans O/Under 47
The Steelers were just embarrassed by the Jets and the Titans are awful. I expect the Steelers offense to rebound big here.
Pick: Steelers cover the spread
Someone asked me to give the games I feel the most comfortable each week. Last week didn't go so well that way, but I like the Bills +5, the Buccaneers +7, Falcons +2, and the 49ers -4.
Week 1 -- ATS: 8-7-1 Straight up: 12-4
Week 2 -- ATS: 7-8 Straight Up: 8-7
Week 3 -- ATS: 13-3 Straight up:14-2
Week 4 -- ATS: 6-7 Straight up: 7-6
Week 5 -- ATS: 9-5 Straight up: 10-4
Week 6 -- ATS: 10-4 Straight up: 8-5-1
Week 7 -- ATS: 8-6 Straight up: 8-6
Week 8: ATS: 9-6 Straight up: 10-5
Week 9: ATS: 8-5 Straight up: 8-5
Week 10: ATS; 6-7 Straight up: 8-5 Over/Under 6-7
Season -- ATS: 78-50-1 Straight up -- 85-44-1